First use of oil painting at bamyan in afghanistan predating

Once he was in control of Bamiyan in 1998, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas' heads for explosives.

He was prevented from taking further action by the local governor and direct order of Mohammed Omar, although tyres were burnt on the head of the great Buddha.

In fact, some foreigners came to me and said they would like to conduct the repair work of the Bamiyan Buddha that had been slightly damaged due to rains. I thought, these callous people have no regard for thousands of living human beings -- the Afghans who are dying of hunger, but they are so concerned about non-living objects like the Buddha. Information and Culture Minister Qadratullah Jamal told Associated Press of a decision by 400 religious clerics from across Afghanistan declaring the Buddhist statues against the tenets of Islam.

"They came out with a consensus that the statues were against Islam," said Jamal.

The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected." However, Afghanistan's radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society.

The Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar explained why he ordered the statues to be destroyed in an interview: I did not want to destroy the Bamiyan Buddha. Had they come for humanitarian work, I would have never ordered the Buddha's destruction.

Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley.

The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world.

Until it was completely conquered by the Muslim Saffarids in the 9th century, Bamiyan shared the culture of Gandhara.

The two most prominent statues were the giant standing Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed.

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Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.

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